The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday presented the Governor-elect of Ondo state, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, with certificate of return.
Akeredolu was accompanied to the event which was held at the INEC headquarters in Akure, the state capital by his wife, Betty.
Other dignitaries at the event include the State Chairman of the party, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke, his deputy, Engr. Ade Adetimehin, former deputy governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, Director-General of Akeredolu’s campaign platform, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Femi Agagu, Hon. Kehinde Henry Bello, Oladunni Odu among others.
Akeredolu, said the victory is not for him or APC alone but for the good people of the state.
He said “it is a victory for the people of Ondo State, irrespective of which side of the divide you stood during the election.
“For me it is a call to service and a challenge to perform. Although we all had different point of view before the election but today, as members of one strong, vibrant and indivisible Ondo State family, we are all united and resolute with one single objective to save our beloved state.
“I cannot thank enough, my fellow compatriots during this election, who had a separate conviction and voted elsewhere.
“They took the guts to answer the call of democracy to make a choice. I believe it is these resounding voices that have created this worthy moment which is making this victory real and refreshing.”
“With this new dawn, it is now time to rediscover and reinvent ourselves. It is time to find what we lost, to rescue this land and its people from the myriad of poverty and pains which daily assail their lives.
“As patriots, it is now time to unit and revamps our fortunes. As governor, we will take deliberate and decisive steps to optically harness our overall potential for greatness, prosperity, peace and stability”
The governor, however commended the INEC and the security agencies for organising what he described as most credible, transparent, free and fair election.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje denied that the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying “this is not only untrue, but highly embarrassing.
On why he could not postponed the election despite the complaint of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede SAN, Agbaje said there was no justification to do so.
He noted that it is most unlikely that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) would postpone any of its scheduled examinations simply because of its candidate in a secondary school was sick or wounded.
The governor-elect had received plenty of endorsements both from party members and members of other political parties, including rivals in the race.
But Rep. Nkoli Ndukwue (PDP-Abia), said that the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the Nov. 26 Ondo state governorship election, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, lost due to lack of time.
Ndukwe said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
He said that it was unfortunate that the PDP’s candidate was replaced two days before the election.
The lawmaker said that Jegede did not have enough time to campaign before the election which made it difficult for him to win.
“We saw what happened in Edo, when it was not conducive, the election was shifted. So it is still within the jurisdiction of INEC to have shifted the election,’’ he said.
“He was just replaced two days to the election, so when did he campaign; when did he sell his party manifesto to the electorate.
“Today, PDP is at the receiving end, tomorrow we don’t know whose turn it will be.’’
Also reacting to the conduct of the exercise, Rep. Ajisafe Olowookere (APC-Ondo), however, commended INEC for a job well done by conducting a peaceful and hitch-free election.
He urged Akeredolu to ensure he paid off the six-month salary the Mimiko administration owned civil servants and pensioners to ease the suffering of the workers.
The lawmaker also called on Akeredolu to live up to expectations of the people by embarking on alternative means of turning the economic fortune of the state for the better.
According to him, emphasis should be placed on agriculture to generate employment for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
He also called on the governor-elect to evolve pragmatic and people-oriented policies and programmes that would create wealth for the people.